Proper Oral Care for Infants & Toddlers

All opinions expressed herein are my own!

All of my little ones, except for one, have Hay Wells Syndrome.  It is an ectodermal dysplasia that affects the hair, nails, skin, and teeth.  While we are fortunate to have few difficulties with skin disorders, we are not so lucky with teeth concerns.  Both of my boys had a very low enamel on their baby teeth, and endured extensive reconstruction surgery before they were three years-old. Two of my girls have very pointy teeth with twinning and an array of other unusual formations. The low enamel and unusual occurrences have us visiting our dentist very frequently AND for the first time in over ten years, they taught me something new!  Are you ready for a revolutionary idea in how to brush baby teeth?


Brush their teeth with them laying down!!!

Nope, I’m not kidding!   Why no dentist (we’ve had several) has never told us this before is beyond me.  This will serve several purposes.  Just wait, you will have the ‘ah ha” moment like me too.

  1. It prepares them for the dentist visits.  If they are accustomed to laying down to have their teeth looked at it won’t be such a shock when they have to sit in the dentist chair!  (see… ‘ah-ha’… why didn’t I think of this?)
  2. It forces their tongue out of the way and makes it easier to maneuver the tooth brush and dental floss.
  3. Laying down is more relaxing/calming and less strain on one’s neck to lay with mouth open instead of sitting up with their mouth open.

Are you having a “Why did I not think of this before” moment?

I have to admit, transitioning from sitting to laying down for teeth brushing took a little while to get accustomed to. I have noticed a few additional positives:

  1. I can brush her teeth longer than I would if she were sitting up.
  2. It is easier for me to reach into her mouth and see what I am doing.
  3. She moves her head less.


Did you notice something different in the above pictures?

We are giving Baby Buddy’s Baby’s 1st Toothbrush a try!

The Baby’s 1st Toothbrush is very different to become adjusted to. Baby R uses her’s more like a “brush her own teeth” treat for laying down. With Baby R teething this past week, the Baby’s 1st Toothbrush has been a wonderful addition to assist with soothing her gums and providing her with biting satisfaction.

I believe the design of the Baby’s 1st Toothbrush will be very beneficial once back teeth/molars begin to break through the gums.  The slanted handle allows for easier back-of-the-mouth positioning.

We are currently using Baby Buddy’s Silicone Finger Toothbrush and Gum Massager.  This brush is made of 100% FDA Approved Food Grade Silicone. PKGD IN USA. BPA, Lead, and Phthalate free!  After trying both styles from Baby Buddy, our preferred brush for mommy and daddy to use is still the finger brush.  It is much easier to move your finger into position than a foreign object.  This also helps baby become adjusted to fingers in their mouth.  I know, traditionally, we try to teach our child the opposite. However, when it comes to oral care and training your child for their first dentist visit, finger in the mouth is still the best approach.

Toddler Tips:

If possible, start brushing using the above techniques mentioned for babies. If you are like me, and already experiencing difficulties with your toddler going to the dentist, start small.  Continue your regular dental checkups while working with him/her at home to become more comfortable laying down for tooth brushing.  Reward them with their own favorite character toothbrush session standing at the bathroom sink. (While he/she is brushing in front of the sink, you must be hands-off and allow them to learn.  Ask or prompt them to turn the brush and readjust their grip.  Never grab or interrupt without asking first.  Allow them the opportunity to “be big”)

Take your child to the dentist often – even if it isn’t their turn for a visit.  This serves two purposes A) watching and observing the way others behave teaches them how they too should behave B) allows them the opportunity to be comfortable.  If your dentist (or an older siblings dentist) allows, have them sit in the dentist chair and become acquainted as often as you are allowed in the door.  Schedule late afternoon visits during a quiet day of the week to come in and bring the dentist office pictures colored by your child, homemade sugarless cookies. (Basically, whatever you can sneak in the door to make them happy about your arrival.)

Use the tandem approach.  Arm yourself and your child both with a tooth brush.  Allow them the opportunity to brush and then ask if you can have a turn.  Brush the teeth for a few moments and then tell the child it is their turn, continue until brushing is complete.

Use powered toothbrushes.  It is hard enough to get in there to brush a toddler’s teeth, make it easier on yourself with a powered brush with a spinning head.  Your dentist and your child will thank you for it later.

I hope you learned something new & will try the laying down approach.

Please leave your tips in the comments below.

*I was provided with complimentary products from Baby Buddy to use in conjunction with this article.  No monetary compensation was given. All thoughts and opinions regarding these products are my own. I am not under any obligation from the company and/or its affiliates to make positive remarks or reviews.

*This post originally appeared on Mommy’s Playbook in 2013. 


Sharing is caring!

17 thoughts on “Proper Oral Care for Infants & Toddlers

  • Wow!! Crazy that I learn something new everyday! this is revolutionary! Thank you so much for sharing – I need to get my hands on these cool toothbrushes for my littles

  • We’ve tried lying down before and it worked nicely. Thankfully all of my older children brush well on their own, but I’m thinking Baby’s Buddy would be a nice addition to our household for our 5 month old. I’m glad to know about it and look forward to trying it myself! Thank you for the info! 🙂

  • I have never heard of Hays Wells Syndrome, an am glad to see you have found better ways to care for your children’s teeth. I imagine the lying down method and Baby’s Buddy would be a great way to get all babies used to having their teeth brushed. Thanks for the very informative post!

  • Wow, I learn something new everyday too. This is great advice fo rany Mom (and anyone eve rhaving to brush a baby’s teeth). I’m sorry your kiddos have trouble with their teeth, but I’m glad you’re finding this way to at least make burshing less of a problem.

  • Neither of my kids as babies were easy to brush their gums or tiny teeth as they erupted. I wasn’t sure who was more tortured…them or me! hahahaha But it is a good habit to try and instill as early as possible to promote good oral health later.

  • We started laying our girls down to brush when they got a little fiesty with their teeth brushing. But, it sort of just happened. I never thought of all of the pros to doing it that way.

  • That’s just such a great idea. I’ll definitely be passing along that tip to my niece, who’s been struggling with getting her little one year old to brush her teeth. Thanks!

  • I have never considered laying our son down during teeth brushing. It does sounds like an excellent idea though. We began with an infant toothbrush once his first two teeth popped through (within 2 days of each other). Now, at 3 years old, he uses the toothbrush himself at the sink once his Daddy or I have brushed them thoroughly.

  • Thank you for these great tips!! I never would have thought of that but will do it with my girls.

  • that’s genius. and why don’t we ever hear that!!

    i hope your son gets more comfortable with the brushing soon

  • It makes such good sense to gradually introduce the texture. I’m sure it’s awful if you’re being surprised by a toothbrush for the first time!

  • Brushing kids’ teeth lying down was one of the best tips someone gave me when my boys were small. Now, they won’t tolerate that, but the motorized toothbrushes help!


Thank you for visiting, please leave a comment below!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!